Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Ethics Committee Will Investigate Trey Radel

Radel, center, leaving court last month after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Radel, center, will be investigated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee will launch a formal investigation into alleged misconduct by Rep. Trey Radel, the panel’s top Republican and Democrat announced Monday.

In a joint statement, Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., said the bipartisan committee had voted on Dec. 12 to form an investigative subcommittee to probe the freshman Republican from Florida.

Radel has been on leave since late last month, when news broke that he had been arrested in the District of Columbia for cocaine possession. He is now checked into a rehab clinic in Florida, where he says he is getting help for his addiction issues that will enable him to get back to work — despite the many calls in and out of his home state for him to step down.

The investigative subcommittee, according to the statement, “shall have jurisdiction to determine whether [Radel] violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation, or other applicable standard of conduct in the performance of his duties or the discharge of his responsibilities, with respect to conduct forming the basis for criminal charges of possession of Cocaine in the District of Columbia, to which Representative Radel pled guilty on November 20, 2013.”

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., will serve as the chairman of the investigative subcommittee, and Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., will serve as the ranking member. The subcommittee will be rounded out by Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Janice Hahn, D-Calif. All four members sit on the full Ethics Committee.

Under House rules, the Ethics Committee is obligated to “empanel an investigative subcommittee to review the allegations” within 30 days of an indictment or charge. The House Ethics Manual notes that some action is required whenever a member is charged with criminal conduct, regardless of whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony.

But an Ethics Committee member, who spoke to CQ Roll Call last month on background because committee members are not permitted to comment on matters that could come before the panel, said the most likely outcome would be for the panel to concur with the court actions taken against Radel and offer no further repercussions.

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